Summer’s here! It’s my favorite time of the year – for right now, anyway. I’m a real “live-in-the-moment” kind of person. When it’s summer, I love the sunshine and the swimming pool. When it’s fall, I love the harvest colors and raking leaves (really!). In the springtime, when everything looks fresh and new – well, I like that too.
It just seems easier and less complicated to “enjoy every sandwich*” than to worry about where the next sandwich is coming from.
Until it’s time to pay the bills.
Then my easy going attitude gets challenged by the harsh realities of the checkbook and I have to admit that it’s really my sworn duty to provide for my family above all else. And I can only live up to that responsibility by setting a good example, paying bills on time, setting limits, teaching my kids that we can’t spend more money than we make and generally running our household like an academy whose objective is to graduate financially literate young adults.
The question of whether the responsibility for teaching these lessons should fall on parents or teachers has been a matter of debate on the op-ed pages around here lately. I don’t know what the right answer is and I expect that everyone will have their own opinion.
In the end, we just need to agree that properly managing your money is a teachable skill, and that anyone can learn it. We have to teach the next generation how to manage their money. It is an essential life skill, and we’re doing our kids a great disservice if we fail to give them basic money management skills before we turn them loose on the world.
The fact is that financial literacy resources and programs are available to anyone who asks.
There are programs for kids, teens, young adults, middle aged adults and senior citizens. So even if you don’t feel qualified to teach your kids about money matters because you still have a lot to learn yourself, check out some of these resources and learn what you need to know.
It’s good for them, it’s good for you and once you get started, you can all get back in the pool and enjoy the summer!
Money Smart Week – Annually in April – Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
A truly FREE copy of your credit report is available courtesy of the US government’s Fair Credit Reporting Act
Find credit counseling resources at this state of Illinois directory
For McLean County students and teachers, FREE financial literacy resources and materials are available courtesy of Mid-Illini Credit Union
The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office offers lots of great fin lit information, too
*Quote by Warren Zevon – singer, songwriter, philosopher – he was terminally ill in 2002, when David Letterman asked him if he knew something more about life and death now. Warren’s answer: “enjoy every sandwich.”